Vodacom has come out on top in the 2018 South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) survey of customer perception, earning a customer satisfaction score of 74.8.
However, this figure is down 4.4% from 2017, where Vodacom scored 79.2. MTN follows in second place with a score of 71.8, which is down from the 74.2 it achieved last year.
Cell C’s score declined from 76.7 to 71.4 from 2017. Both MTN and Cell C’s 2018 scores place them below the industry average of 73.3.
The SAcsi is a measure of customer perception, and not an objective rating of network quality or speeds.
“While mobile networks have focused on technical and infrastructural delivery and handset upgrades in terms of capturing customer loyalty, customers have indicated via the SAcsi that the seemingly softer perceptual drivers such as perceived value for money, quality of relationship and service levels and competent complaints handling are what matter most to them,” said Professor Adré Schreuder, SAcsi chairperson.
“All networks are highly concerned with acquisition, infrastructure and competing, however none are making a clear value proposition around customer-centricity.”
“The market is waking up to a new reality and much of this is being driven by extensive media reporting on the regulatory aspects of the market and the prices paid by South Africans versus what they get – customers believe they pay far too much for what they actually get at the end of the day,” said SAcsi.
Other reasons provided by SAcsi for the decline in customer satisfaction include commoditisation, market maturity, and a lack of visible differentiation.
Net promoter score
SAcsi also provides a Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures how likely customers are to recommend a brand to their family and friends when compared to those who would actively discourage using the brand’s products or services.
NPS scores dipped substantially in the cellular provider industry, falling from 37.4% to just 19.9%.
Vodacom again took first place with a score of 27.8%, while MTN and Cell C scored 11.8% and 9.9% respectively.
In addition, SAcsi found that a large segment of clients surveyed had multiple SIMs across different providers, with their preference of network balanced between voice and data value.
Customers surveyed said they used Vodacom and MTN for their voice needs, with Cell C and other networks like Telkom for their data requirements.
Vodacom had the lowest percentage of multi-SIM customers with 39%, with the majority of these users holding SIMs from other providers. 40% of MTN customers have multiple SIMs, of which 42% use Vodacom SIMs as an alternative.
Cell C has up to 50% multi-SIM customers, with 45% of them using Vodacom as their alternative provider.